Taiwan Church News
September 15 - September 21, 2014
People Win The Scottish Independence Referendum
Reported by Png Lâm-têng from Edingburgh
The result of globally attention-attracted Scottish Independence Referendum is officially announced at 7:00 am on September 19th 2014. "No" camp, who is against independence, gets 55.3% of the total ballots. And this result decides the Scotland to keep remaining in the United Kingdom.
Lead by PCT's General Assembly Moderator, Rev. Lo Ren-qyei, a group of 12-membered "Taiwan Observation Group of the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014", including representatives from different Taiwan civil groups and political parties, is the exclusive Taiwanese civil group arriving Edinburgh on September 15th for the sake of observing this significant independence referendum only. Arranged by Rev. Sandy Sneddon, Asian Secretary of Ecumenical Committee within Church of Scotland(CoS), Taiwan Observation Group is further divided into four units to proceed a detailed and comprehensive understanding.
After the result of independence referendum is announced, Taiwan Observation Group immediately joins a conference held by CoS at 10:00 am on September 19th to learn how CoS expresses their faith and stance within this important event and how church will work on social reconciliation in the future from CoS Moderator, Rev. John Chalmers, and the Secretary of CoS Church and Society, Rev. Graham Blount.
Blount said, though the referendum result can not be please to everyone, the Scottish people still deserve to be congratulated as the turn out rate reaches an amazing 85% which is a double increase compared to last Scottish Parliament election.
Different from the devolution referendums for Scottish Assembly on 1979 and 1997 each, in which CoS took sides with "Yes" camp, CoS does not support either camp during this 2014 independence referendum because both camps have convincing reasons to persuade the other, said Blount.
Within this independence referendum, CoS only urges people to follow common moral standard and play her role as an healer in reconciliation. In the meantime CoS also prepares to open 10 seminary workshop, in cooperation with cross-denominational churches and social groups, to carry on the momentum caring for the Scottish society, remarked Blount.
Speaking for Taiwan Observation Group of Scottish Independence Referendum, Rev. Lo Ren-quei appreciates CoS's generous arrangement on this event enabling observation members be able to check into the details of the referendum process. Lo hopes Taiwan can hold such independence referendum soon and invite CoS to observe. Hearing this, Rev. Chalmers promptly responds: "Hope your vote result will be better than us!".
Seeing the democratic and fair process of the Scottish Independence Referendum, Professor Tsai Ding-quei, an Taiwan Observation Group member and also the chief leader of Taiwan Plebicite Union, chides in rebuke about China's propaganda that Taiwan's future should be decided by a common decision by the whole bunch of the Chinese in volumes and the Taiwanese as a small potato.
In a CoS reconciliation service held on September 21st after the referendum vote, Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary of Labour Party, was invited to read verses of Old Testament; John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Fiance in the Scottish Government, reading verses of New Testament. This is to symbolize a unit in faith.
Rev. John Chalmers, CoS Moderator, urges the Scotland people in his sermon to give away their differences and re-search the meaning of their pursuit for a state within the United Kingdom. Chalmers praises and pay his tributes to the Scottish people, as the whole world is watching so attentively how the Scotland decides her future in dignity and responsibility. And now it is the time to seek cooperation and unity. For the Scottish people, independence reference vote is both an identity exploration and spiritual journey. And such national pilgrimage into future requires God's grace and hospitality to respect our mutual difference. So, there is no loser in this independence referendum vote. People win!
Translated by Peter Wolfe
Taiwan Observation Group members of the Scottish Independence Referendum are photographed with Rev. John Chalmers, Moderator of Church of Scotland, before St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on September 21st 2014.
Photo by Png Lâm-têng
Outside the voting booth, the placard of No camp and Yes camp for the Scottish Independence Referendum could be placed side by side.
Photo by Png Lâm-têng